Lincoln High School Statesman

Face”book” of lies

Facebook has been under fire for its improper distribution of users' data and private information.

Facebook has been under fire for its improper distribution of users' data and private information.

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Facebook has been under fire for its improper distribution of users' data and private information.

Hannah Hansen, Staff Writer

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Every day, 1.4 billion people log on to the widespread media frenzy that Facebook has built after its birth in 2004. Recently, however, the company has been facing criticism after details emerged revealing Facebook’s knowledge that Cambridge Analytica had improperly collected and shared data from over 87 million of its users.

Facebook’s questionable integrity has influenced an outrage from users across its network. The company admitted that several Facebook accounts have unknowingly had their data and profile information accessed by “malicious actors” through a feature that allows users to find people through email addresses or phone numbers. However, while some people use this tool to find friends, the feature also invites identity thieves, scam artists and shady market brokers into public accounts.

The scandal arises from the Facebook app, “This is Your Digital Life,” which was created in 2014. The app is based around a personality quiz that vacuums up the responses and data of not only the Facebook users who took it, but also the data from the users’ Facebook friends. Facebook’s loose restrictions on private information have since been called into question, demanding a response from the company’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.

“Even if we can’t really measure a change and the usage of a product, or the business or anything like that, it still speaks to people feeling like this is a massive breach of trust and that we have a lot of work to do to repair that,” said Zuckerberg. “We also made mistakes. There’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”

In the midst of Facebook’s scandal with the media, Zuckerberg testified before congressional panels on Tuesday in relation to the mishandling of the company’s data. Zuckerberg’s first appearance before Congress had him face questioning from lawmakers, pressing for answers as to why and how third-party partners could access and use Facebook’s data without users’ knowledge. When questioned about Facebook’s future in regards to profile privacy, Zuckerberg ensured Congress that the company will enact safety precautions when it comes to letting outside apps obtain users’ activity.

“If we find any suspicious activity, we’re going to conduct a full audit of those apps to understand how they’re using their data and if they’re doing anything improper,” said Zuckerberg. “If we find that they’re doing anything improper, we’ll ban them from Facebook and we will tell everyone affected.”  

This recent scandal brings light to much more than just the wrong-doings of Facebook. It is all too easy to get swept underneath the social media carpet that has influenced our generation for years – but, that does not mean that we should neglect the dangers of the words we type, the pictures we post or the digital footprints we leave behind.

“I think the recent scandal is a wake-up call to the dangers of social media and its ability to invade your privacy,” said sophomore Jadyn Cummins. “Teens and adults should be careful about what information they choose to put out on the internet because anyone can find your personal information if they really wanted to.”

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